Star Wars: The Last Fan (Edited)

I deleted the contents of this post because it is not in the tone nor form I wish to speak in. Although, for those that did read it, it was certainly true to my thoughts and feelings for the film.

Here is my final summation. Screw you, Disney – go bankrupt on your SJW feminist drivel. I’m done with Star Wars. Hell, can’t even watch the originals since George had to wipe his ass on those as well.

[Well, that was pretty much the same tone and form… but it had a brevity the former did not, no?]

I’m out.



I still haven’t seen the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. From everything that I have read, I am bound to hate this one more than Mary Sue Awakens. I really started to think about why and then I ran across a conversation on Mr. Wright’s site where people were discussing Sarah Connor from Terminator and Ripley from Alien/Aliens.

Someone came close to differentiating between KTB’s (killer tough babe) and Rey from Star Wars.

The thing that Ripley and Sarah Conner have in common as KTBs, and that most miss, is their motivation.
Ripley and Sarah are mother bears protecting their cubs, and nothing is going to stop them.

While this has some truth in it, it doesn’t go far enough. What is essential is the storytelling. What is crucial is the thing that makes it a principle of character development for both male and female characters.

I call it The Crucible. This idea is not new to me. I am applying a well known concept that is as old as story telling itself. But it is the element that is missing from the character and character development of Rey from the new Star Wars franchise.

What is missing from the new Star Wars series is basic storytelling.

Here is the comment I left at Mr. Wright’s site. I could elaborate, but this should be common knowledge. Note the two KTB’s are both from Cameron. Abrams doesn’t understand character development in general nor female in particular.

I was thinking about the part discussion going on about KTB’s (killer tough babe) here (although it seems to be a dead thread now). The thing that is missing, the thing that distinguishes a Sarah Conner and a Ripley from a Rey is a crucible.

The quintessential example (for me) is Sarah Connor. In the beginning Connor is just young waitress living the mostly carefree life of a single woman who goes out with friends. And if it were not for the intervention of Reese, the first Terminator would have been a short 2 minute clip of a woman getting her head blown off by a time traveling cyborg – The End, please exit theater. She’d have struggled to defend herself from a drunken Seth Green let alone a heavy metal alloy Arnold.

James Cameron knows how to tell a story (most of the time) through character. By the time we get near the end of the first movie when she is screaming to Reese after he sustains a debilitating injury “on your feet, soldier!” Sarah Conner the KTB is almost forged. When we meet her in the second film, lean and mean and menacing, and overpowering other human men, we buy it. We saw her transformed, we were given the evidence (it also helped that Cameron was smart enough to show her working out vigorously in the beginning of the second film).

Sarah Connor had a killer cyborg come back in time to kill her and she lived to tell about it – don’t F*** with Sarah Connor.

The same goes for Ripley in Alien/Aliens.

But the real point is that it applies to men as well as to women. The fault in the Rey character is not that she is a woman. The fault is terrible storytelling. Luke gets his clock cleaned in his first bout with Darth Vader even though he had at least some training with a Jedi Master. Mary-Sue-Rey takes on and bests proto-Sith Ren having just touched a lightsaber for the first time. Luke’s defeat at the hands of Vader is the crucible that forges him into the Jedi (almost) that he appears as in The Return of the Jedi.

In the first Star Wars we learn early on the Luke has piloting experience and thus we buy his being able to pilot an X-Wing, and we are able to buy his destroying the Death Star because he had Obi-Wan as force mentor in the cockpit. Rey “just knows” how to handle the Falcon, she “just knows” stuff about fixing it somehow. She goes through nothing, faces no crucible, is forged in no fire, suffers nothing for her powers.

I don’t think the character follows from the dictates of feminist ideology so much as it follows the pipe dreams of a slacker generation that doesn’t know anything about what character takes, just as they know nothing about man. It is the “safe-space” view of human development. That if you give someone a pillow, fast food, endless pep-talks on how good they are, this is what leads to success.

Abrams had an inkling (perhaps subconscious) that this wouldn’t totally fly which is why Rey lived alone and orphaned and traded imperial scraps for food. But that coin is not enough to buy the power needed that she displayed. Just as Sarah Conner growing up in foster care wouldn’t have been enough.

The Case for Christ

I went to see a Christian movie! Does that sound unnatural to say as if it were something of a dare or something so unprecedented as to be worthy of declaration?

Well, it is a little of both really. With the exception of religious based classics of the 50’s and 60’s, most films since that time are ham-fisted embarrassments. I say that as when I was an atheist and I say it now (I should note I am as shitty at religion as I was at atheism – I am, however, a professional ass). I love the classic religious films, Charlton Heston classics Ben-Hur (not the remake!) The Ten Commandments (not the remake!) Quo Vadis (although the book was vastly superior) A Man For All Seasons and some others.

One of my favorites is Jesus of Nazareth from 1977, mostly because Robert Powell nailed it so perfectly. It was, as far as I can tell, the last of its kind. I contrast this film with the miniseries The Bible from 2013. Particularly bad was the New Testament parts where Eddie Vedder, I mean Jesus Christ (or was it the singer from Creed?) comes out of the boat with gleaming white teeth a happy smile for the kiddies ready to be everyone’s special little buddy. I call it the Delta Dental of Bethlehem Bible Special… Tinggg! To paraphrase Vin Diesel (from a trailer for what I’m sure was totally retarded XXX) “Tonight, I might be crucified, but at least I’ll look hot doing it!”

Anyway, The Case for Christ wasn’t intended to be any of those movies as it is based on a true story as told by Lee Strobel. It is basically his story of how he investigated the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and how he became convinced of its truth. The interesting part of the story is what motivated him to begin the investigation.


Basically his wife, after a traumatic scare involving their young daughter, starts to turn to Christianity and faith. The couple were committed atheists. The husband rebels against this most strongly, vehemently. He is seeking a way to “save” his wife, and their marriage, from ruin. This may seem strange to some, but to some atheists leaving the fold can seem exactly like apostasy. And I’ve seen some people convert (or at least purport to convert) who turned into worse people than before they went in.

This was, to Strobel, the worst thing that could happen to their marriage so he seeks the advice of a colleague at the Tribune (he was a reporter) who was Christian how he should deal with this. The colleague, who is confident Strobel won’t win, tells him if wants to bring down Christianity it all rests on the Resurrection. As Paul said also, if that falls, the faith is in vain. Strobel takes this challenge head-on.

Without giving away the whole pie (and proceeding to do so anyway, as the spoiler sign was already posted) Strobel loses his challenge also suffering a deep personal tragedy along the way, and ends up coming to the faith as his wife did shortly before.

What was interesting, fascinating – to me anyway, was not so much Strobel’s investigation (although that was interesting as well, for instance, I had never heard of the “swoon theory” before this) but the conflict between the husband and wife. It was very well acted and didn’t even feel like it belonged on a smaller screen which sometimes these movies feel they need. That is probably because we’ve been led to expect giant boom booms! and nothing else for so long.

One aspect of this that is worthy of note is how easily this could have been any number of different films. It really pivoted on the actions and choices of the wife. He treated her change of heart as if she were being led down some dark alley of occultism. And that could have been a movie (it is probably several already) if this wasn’t based on a true story. If he were trying to save her from the cult of Jim Jones, the husband becomes a hero and all sympathy is with him. But, unless you are staunch atheist, the sympathy in the film is not with him, but her.

Because to someone who takes their atheism seriously (most of the one’s I have personally known – and probably myself included, but I just don’t know because I never even contemplated Strobel’s dilemma before my atheism wilted but, probably, most likely I’d be just such an ass – let’s say for now probably 70% likelihood of ass-ness) your wife or husband converting, even to a simple, local parish IS JONESTOWN! It is all the same, and you look upon it with all the incredulity as if your adult wife or husband were suddenly, and seriously, writing letters to Santa Clause.

What the fuck is wrong with you?! Have you completely lost your mind? Have you been a coward this whole time? So, you are just going to throw way your reason!? It’s a f***ing cult, are you blind!?

I know that reaction. I’ve reflexed that reaction (not on my wife, she’s still pure atheist) on people in the past even if I wasn’t too terribly aggressive. And I’ve seen milder versions of that reaction since I started carrying religious texts along with me the last couple years. One year at NORWESCON I took the Catechism of the Catholic Church with me for break time reading and a friend of mine seeing it said “yeew, yuck!” Without even knowing my reason for reading it nor, I’d bet, knowing a single word in the text.

To the committed atheist, no differences matter, it is all the same. Same, but all things are not equal. I’ve never heard a story of a wife or husband flipping out because one of them became Buddhist. So she lights up a little incense, stretches and chants twenty minutes every morning? It’s a little hokey but hey, I still eat Fruit Loops in the morning, so who’s to judge?

Got to get ready for work. Good film.

“The Matrix” (Part 1 of 2) Commentary by Fr. Robert Barron | Word On Fire

Source: “The Matrix” (Part 1 of 2) Commentary by Fr. Robert Barron | Word On Fire

I became a fan of now Bishop Robert Barron several years ago after stumbling upon his commentary on the Matrix and Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower on YouTube. Hell, I even became a Dylan fan. That’s saying a lot because Dylan’s music is not in my usual sphere.

Before that I assumed priests to be quite removed from anything so earthly. Actually I didn’t know anything at all about priests outside of scenes from The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror. This clip is part one of two parts on the Matrix. If you want to see part two or any of his other stuff, he is not hard to find on youtube.

Happy Viewing!

The Force Awakens – Revisited

Last Monday, nearly a month after seeing it the first time, I went back and watched it early in the morning. I have to say I had a much better impression of it the second time I watched it than the first time. That is certainly something I could never get myself to do with the prequels.

One of the things I had against it the first time is the usual, modern, spectacle of skinny little girls beating up men. But, on review, before she got what I have to call a Force infusion, she engaged in no upper body combat, merely kicking and a staff. That’s alright, I can buy that.

I know it is heretical to say nowadays, but girls are not as physically strong as boys. So I need a good explanation as to why a waif is sending men to the floor. Trinity in The Matrix had a very good reason – she was in the Matrix. If she was doing that to giant goons in the real world, I would have laughed.

I still have a problem with her being able to do all manner of things for which there is, as yet, little explanation. One hopes that the new guy on the film is not a drooling retard and realizes that he has to come up with a way cool power for Luke that enables him to virtually train Jedi from afar…

The Force Awakens… Tired and Confused


So I saw The Force Awakens on Christmas Eve.

Based on initial viewing – meh.

First the good points (and I’m going to be quick).

It did not look like the prequels, it had the look (so far as you can try such a thing) and feel (you can never really go back…) of the originals.

Also I knew as soon as the usual episode scroll rides to the top of the screen that we were not going to get bogged down in senate debates and Jedi council meetings, and conversations that take place on a couch, etc. We were going to get what we came for.

Unfortunately that brings right to the bad. I was almost, no I was, hoping for a council meeting, a senate debate or something. This was a JJ Abrams Star Wars, all guff and action and not a single attempt to explain anything.

Now explanation is not always necessary. In movies in particular, if you can express it through action instead of explanation through dialogue, that is the proper way. In Return of the Jedi we needed no explanation to know what is going on behind the mask as the Emperor is electrocuting his son before his eyes.

But The Force Awakens, as  I said, is a JJ Abrams film, he delights in doing things that have to have an explanation and then refuses to do so. It is as if the man enjoys pushing people out of the world of his own films.

Firstly, the trailers for The Force Awakens all had the black storm trooper (he is black when he takes off that helmet, his uniform is as any other stormtrooper) he looks like a man that has just suddenly emerged from a terrorizing nightmare. We are led to believe that this is the person of the new trilogy. But it is not, it belongs to some little girl. A girl who serves the modernly well-worn bromidic falsehood that little girls can fight and defeat men twice her size.

And that would be fine, if we were given some plausible (plausible here is plausible by the rules of the world created) reason for why she can do this. For instance, waif, Carrie Moss’s character, Trinity, in The Matrix Continue reading “The Force Awakens… Tired and Confused”

Where is Luke Skywalker?


I am sure my father wishes I had grown up by now, but I really just can’t help but get excited about a new Star Wars movie. Not even George Lucas (to say nothing of maturity (or lack thereof)) and his prequels can’t get it down too much. This is, after all the story we really care about. The one that should have come after the originals. IF! If there were further movies to be made. There did not have to be. I would have been perfectly content with the originals UNMOLESTED!

So it was with no small amount of gushing that I saw the movie poster! Although I will curb my enthusiasm. I thought the Star Trek reboots with JJ Abrams to be pretty forgettable. That was a reboot, however, this is not.

I hope they don’t screw up these movies. Luke Skywalker was my childhood hero – well, from seven through eleven or so.

But onto the subject of the post. And it is just a trivial thing. There is no Luke Skywalker that I can see on that poster. Where is he? Or is he on that poster? Is he the guy at the top? That would – could – make for one hell of a story!

Let’s hope those questions were worth asking after December 19th.

Two Months!



Calvary & Christmas Movies


CALVARY is not a Christmas movie although it is has a Christian theme.

Brendan Gleeson plays Father James, a Catholic priest, in an abusive, hostile, post sexual abusive scandal, small town in Ireland. These people are not only jerks, they are a motley mess of vices and malice. The vice and malice is directed at him.

I’ll give only the opening scene. Father James is sitting in the confessional reading while awaiting a penitent. One arrives and starts telling the priest about violent sexual assaults he suffered at the hands of a priest while he was growing up. The abusive priest is now dead. The person says this (quoting from memory) “Father, I am going to kill you. Killing an evil priest is nothing, but to kill a good one, ah, that is making a statement. I’m going to kill you next Sunday.”

The rest is up to you. I thought it an excellent, disturbing film. Note the title of the movie.

The only problem I had was in the write up of the film. On iTunes it was touted as a “wickedly funny black comedy”.

Whoever wrote that either did not see the film, or is rather sick in the head. When the first thing the man tells the priest is the first time he tasted semen was when he was seven years old (relating to his abuse) did this person laugh? There were a few light exchanges to be found in the film, a humorous quip here and there as one would find in any other drama. But that film was not a comedy, not by any non-nihilistic person.

That line is from a review of the movie from Time Out. The writer warns the reader that Calvary is not as filled with “big guffaws” as the director’s previous movie “The Guard”. And that the humor is dark enough to be an acquired taste that some may not be able to take.

Quite true if it were a comedy.  If it was they missed entirely and made a very moving drama instead. Was I supposed to laugh when the millionaire took down one of his expensive paintings and proceeded to Continue reading “Calvary & Christmas Movies”


First a RANT: [But it is a seven paragraph rant so… IT WAS GREAT!]

People, put away those satanic cell phones! I feel like I am living in some alien world of electronically addicted zombies. Can we not look at our phones for the duration of a single movie? I noticed three people (and I was trying not to see it so there may have been many more) in the rows in front of me that couldn’t go five minutes. Open up their phone, check their messages, their emails, their twitter, their Facebook. Someone’s phone even rang in the middle of the movie even though there are about 5 messages and commercials that boom at IMAX levels about TURNING OFF YOUR FUCKING CELL PHONES (my wording is better). The person wasn’t so droolingly inconsiderate as to answer the damned call.

I look at it the same as I would a drunk vomiting into a gutter or a person smoking a cigarette through a hole in their throat or a junkie shooting up. I was about to say at least this habit won’t kill you, but then I remembered the vehicle accident statistics for such people – never mind.

I haven’t really looked into it, but I’m curious as to the mental damage accrued for such an addiction. Lack of social skills is one; I can observe that in my job. It is a dependency issue, clearly. Some people I work with cannot work for more than 20 or so a minutes at a time without checking in with their roommate or girlfriend or some other form of communication.


Here is another thing. When you have a child that is still babbling at the ripe old age of 6 months, do not bring the child to a science fiction movie in IMAX (which is LOUD). Get a baby sitter or stay home. Yeah, being a parent is a bitch, I’m sure. But at $17.25 a ticket no one wants to hear your baby scream its head off. I wasn’t watching this thing in the ghetto, these people are all well-to-do, they can afford a baby sitter. Or, if they feel they cannot trust a baby sitter, you can watch it on your giant LCD television in HD streaming in a few months time.

Someone went out and complained and the ushers asked the people to take their baby outside so the guests (paying $17.25 a ticket) could watch their movie.

I’m not one of those people that goes off every time someone’s kid starts wailing (unless the kid is 8 or something, then you are dealing with those modern weak parents who views their child as a friend thus adding to the surplus population of fragile, thin-skinned iPhone addicted whiners) but, damn a theater is not the place for babies that small. Especially a movie as loud as that one was.

Which movie was that again?

Ah, Interstellar. Mmm, how to describe this movie. It had everything on the Continue reading “Interstellar”

Guardians of the Galaxy

So on the recommendation of several people and the general praise the movie received, the wife and I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy last evening. For the most part I enjoyed it knowing before hand that it was a light-fare science fiction romp based on a Marvel comic.

I never thought 70’s and late 60’s sentimental pop music would fit in with a sci-fi flick, but fit it did. The plot was simplistic enough for the type of movie it was. Bad guy(s) with power pursue an object that will get them more power – a ragtag collection of galactic misfits with repressed hearts of gold try to stop them. Darth Vader wants the stolen plans to the Death Star, a motley collection of supposed misfits attempts to thwart the evil Empire’s plans (and save the space princess).

Guardians is a lot lighter fare than Star Wars ever was. Planets are threatened with destruction but the bad guys really only create a lot of havoc… and a few deaths.

Even though I prefer my science fiction pretty stark and moody (Dark City being the finest science fiction so far made) there are several parts of the movie that I thought shined through. I loved the walking tree, Groot, who could only say, “I am Groot”; and you knew he was going to be the sacrificial character (the Obi Wan). And you knew through his actions, no portends through dialogue.

I was a little disappointed in the Raccoon character, Rocket. Raccoons are my favorite wild animal and I imaged one that was given intelligence to have a different sort of personality than a wise-cracking cynical criminal. The criminal part I get, but I was expecting a gentler touch.

Anyway, none of those things really matter. But I do have a significant complaint about the movie. I call it the  “George Lucas gets addicted to CGI” problem, or, “Michael Bay is the God of Action scenes” problem.

Let me turn the readers attention to, yep, you guessed it, the original Continue reading “Guardians of the Galaxy”